GREENVILLE — The new director of the Greenville Department of Public Safety has been on the job just shy of a month and he plans to continue his career here as long as the city will keep him.
Mark Reiss, 48, started his new position with the public safety department on Aug. 1 after moving back to West Michigan from Dayton, Ohio.
“Things are going very well so far,” said Reiss of his time with the department so far. “I am getting acclimated to the department.”
Reiss was a criminal justice major at Grand Valley State University, where he graduated in 1991. He also attended Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in 2001.
From 1987 to 1991, he served as a public safety officer at Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. From 1989 to 1990, he was a narcotics investigator with the Michigan State Police and then returned as a public safety officer at the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety from 1991 to 1995. He was promoted to detective at the department from 1995 to 1996 and then promoted to sergeant from 1997 to 2004.
From 2004 to 2008, Reiss was operations division commander lieutenant, which was third in command at the agency. In 2008, he was hired as the chief of police at the Riverside Police Department in Riverside, Ohio, where he currently works.
Reiss was appointed the Greenville Department of Public Safety director position at the July 16 city council meeting after a recommendation for the City Manager George Bosanic.
The director position became vacant when Michael Pousak resigned after just a year on the job. It has been filled by Interim Director Michael Stuck since the end of May.
“Mark has hit the ground running with his experience as a former public safety lieutenant in Grand Haven and as police chief in Riverside,” Bosanic said.
Currently, Reiss said he has been assessing everything at the department and prioritizing what needs to be done by creating a five-year plan to put everything in place.
One of his major goals within that plan is updating all of the policies and procedures throughout the department to make them consistent with national police and fire policies. Another major item in the plan is to make sure all items are audited in the evidence room so the department has a clear list of all the items in house.
Budget plans are also at the top of Reiss’s mind to make sure expenses are covered when items are needing to be replaces such as cruisers and firefighter turnout gear.
“The gear alone cost (thousands) of dollars,” Reiss said. “I am working on getting them on a annual rotation so we don’t have a big expense when everyone’s (gear) is out at one time.”
To cover some of these costs, he said he is working on grants so the money is not all coming out of the city’s general fund.
Most recently, Reiss said the department is working with the local Michigan State Police department to designate a room at the department for interrogation purposes on felony cases. He explained laws are changing to have those situations not only audio recorded but visually recorded, so the departments are working together to provide that equipment at a low to no cost.
Overall, Reiss said he is very happy to be in Greenville, which is officially now his new home.
“I am really enjoying (Greenville),” Reiss said. “It has that hometown feel.”
Since becoming a resident, he has made good use of the trail system with both running and rollerblading and has already spent quality time with his children at Baldwin Lake.
“(This job) is the best thing that has happened to me,” Reiss said. “I am going to be here for as long as they will have me.”
Not only has the community been very welcoming, he said that staff at both the department and the city have been great to work with.
“The people in the department have been patient with me,” he said. “They are like a family here.”
Overall, Bosanic said Reiss is stepping up to the plate to make sure the job gets done.
“He’s very knowledgeable of his profession and has a great personality,” Bosanic said of Reiss. “He’s already made great contributions to the department in the few short weeks he’s been here. We’re glad to have him.”